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Old 12-08-2011
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Question Desired features vs. boat capabilities

I've been following the thread started by Smackdaddy titled "production boats and the limits". There seems to be a common need to list boats by their "capabilities". I've read several lists of boats that are touted as bluewater boats, read threads which describe the limits to which the writer has pushed a given boat, and even threads where individuals will defend or deny whether or not a certain boat can or should be used for a certain purpose. Boats seem to be placed into categories such as blue water, coastal, or bay sailing.

Through much reading of books as well as listening to the opinions expressed in these forums I'm beginning to wonder if these categories are very well defined. Take the blue water category for example. It seems to be expressed as a single pinnacle of seaworthiness. But is it truely only a single category? One could say that crossing an ocean to get from one city to another in safety and comfort would require a boat that is blue water capable. One could also say that crossing an ocean to explore a remote shoreline far from repair facilities and in areas known for rougher weather and seas requires a boat that is blue water capable. I would say both are correct.

I think these lists of blue water boats are all capable of crossing oceans. However, do all of these boats incorporate design features that make them the best choice in both instances? Maybe so, maybe not. So rather than discussing what specific boats can or can't do, I would like to generate ideas and opinions in order to better define the categories and what design features, whether purpose built or upgraded, it takes to make a boat perform well within said category, and why.

Below is a rough list of categories and a short definition of the type of use the boat would typically see. As people start to provide ideas and opinions I'll edit the list to reflect them so that it will be easier to see our progress. I'm really hoping for input from a wide range of experience levels as well as geographical locations. I'm sure that some things that find their way to this thread will depend largely on personal preference and opinion, and that's ok. Those opinions will get new people to thinking and hopefully they will know what to look for when they go looking for their dream boat.

Lake/Bay - Typical day or weekend sailing with occasional overnight stays. Rescue and safe anchorage is readily available.
1. Large cockpit for entertaining.

Coastal - Travels extend outside of harbor and may include short periods offshore with reasonable forecasting. Rescue within 24 hrs, safe anchorage within 4 days.
1. Self-bailing cockpit.
2. good light air performance

Liveaboard - Owners live onboard permanently. Boat may need features common to other categories if so used.
1. Plenty of storage
2. Standing headroom

Extended Cruising - Crosses oceans. In many cases ports of call may include destinations where repair facilities and moorage may not be available, anchoring only. Long periods at sea where forecasting may be spotty/unreliable at times. Typical crossings are on well travelled routes with ocassional deviations and planned for relaxation and enjoyment. Rescue may take a while depending on location. Must be self-sufficient.
1. Versatile sail plan with strong rig
2. Reliable self-steering
3. Rugged hull
4. Plenty of tankage (water, fuel, etc.)
5. Storage space for stores and spares
6. Good ground tackle.
7. Kindly motion in a seaway.

Expedition Cruising - Crosses oceans using less frequented routes often including high lattitudes and areas known for extreme weather. Long periods at sea with spotty/unreliable forecasting. Destinations along route will likely have limited or no repair facilities or moorage. Must rely on anchoring and self repair. Extended wait for rescue depending on location. Due to the remote locations visited, expect limited chart data.
1. Same as for extended cruising only more of the same
2. Consider steel for hull material

Racing - Covers anything from local regattas to offshore racing.
1. Light hull

Last edited by Dean101; 12-10-2011 at 04:52 AM. Reason: Additional data
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